Scientists in California are reporting an advance toward one of the futuristic goals nanobiology and nanomedicine -- developing technology for "wiring" together individual cells and connecting cells via nanowires to external sensors and other devices.
In a study scheduled for the June 20 issue of Journal of the American Chemical Society, a weekly publication, Bruce R. Conklin and Peidong Yang and colleagues report what they term the first demonstration of a direct nanowire connection to individual mammalian cells without the use of force that can damage or kill cells.
They connected human embryonic kidney cells and mouse embryonic stem cells to silicon nanowires, using an approach in which the wires penetrated into cells naturally as the cells grew in cultures. The cells survived for days, and researchers were able to derive and maintain heart muscle cells from the mouse embryonic stem cells.
"Direct interconnection of the cells to the external world by interfacing nanomaterials may afford great opportunities to probe and manipulate biological processes occurring inside cells, across membranes, and between neighboring cells," their report states. "Our results suggest that the nanowires can be potentially utilized as a powerful tool for studying intra- and inter-cellular biological processes."
Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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